Why you’ll need a Belgium GHIC to visit Belgium post-Brexit
Belgium has always been one of the most popular places for UK citizens to visit for short breaks. The bustle of Brussels, the quaint charm of Bruges, and the exceptional Christmas markets all draw many millions of tourists a year. So when the UK left the EU, it’s not surprising that many people have asked what steps they should be taking, to ensure they can continue to travel to Belgium, hassle free.
Buried deep in the Brexit deal, were some important details about healthcare provision for Brits travelling to the EU from 2021 onwards. Before Britain left the EU, holding an EHIC card would allow Brits travelling to Belgium to prove their entitlement to help with the cost of healthcare, if they became ill whilst travelling. Although the EHIC system has been around since 2004, it has now been subject to a total overhaul, and visitors to Belgium will need to pick up a Belgium GHIC Card before they travel.
What is a Belgium UK GHIC Card?
A Belgium GHIC will allow you to prove your entitlement to “necessary healthcare” from the Belgian state services. The health system in Belgium is very heavily reliant on health insurance – for most Belgian workers this is covered through their employment, however, if you are a visitor to the country, it is really crucial to ensure that you’ve got the appropriate Belgian Health Insurance Card in place before you arrive in the country.
Travelling to Belgium with a Belgium GHIC Card
Perhaps one of the reasons that Belgium has been such a popular spot for visitors, is the sheer number of ways which it’s possible to get to the country. Of course, there are low-cost and regularly frequent flights from a number of different UK cities. But if flying isn’t your thing, you can hop on a Eurostar from London St Pancras, or Ebbsfleet, and be in Belgium’s capital in just a couple of hours.
If you want to take your car, there is a ferry route between Hull and Zeebrugge, which will get you straight there. One of the best things to note about the Belgium UK Global Health Insurance Card, is that if you are taken ill on the ship or plane, your Belgium UK GHIC Card will cover you for the necessary treatment as soon as you arrive.
How will my Belgium UK GHIC Card work?
If the worst happens and you are taken ill on your holiday – the Belgium GHIC and Cyprus GHIC will help you prove that you are entitled to ‘necessary healthcare’. This means any treatment that becomes medically necessary whilst you are on your holiday, which cannot wait until you get back to the UK. Whether you’re on a city break in Brussels, or deep in Belgium’s stunning countryside, this is a really important security to have.
This typically includes emergency treatment, and treatments if you have an accident – such as trips to A&E. In some circumstances, this can also include treatment for long term conditions, including some pre-existing conditions – like oxygen treatment and kidney dialysis.
Enjoy the tourist highlights safe in the knowledge you have a Belgium GHIC
So whether you want to grab a beer in Bruges, stroll the streets of Saint-Gilles, or check out the chocolate in Charleroi, Belgium has a huge amount to offer. With high rates of English spoken in most of the popular tourist spots, UK visitors should find this a relaxing and enjoyable place to take a break. Make sure you’ve got your Belgium Health Insurance Card ready to go so you can relax and not have to worry about the cost of medical treatment if you happen to need emergency treatment during your break.
Insurance and the Belgium GHIC
The gorgeous Belgian landscape is of course an ideal place for many different sports and adventurous activities. Whether you’re planning to try some cross-country skiing, or you’re hoping to climb the Signal de Botrange – it’s worth ensuring you are adequately protected. Should you be injured, your Belgium GHIC or Czech Republic GHIC is a necessity for proving your residency and entitlement to treatment. However, you should also be aware that certain private emergency responses – like air ambulances or mountain evacuation – are privatised in Belgium. This means that their services would not be covered by a Belgium GHIC card, and so you should ensure that you have appropriate travel insurance to cover this kind of eventuality. The Belgian GHIC is not a substitute for adequate travel insurance, but it is something you’ll need to claim treatment.
Completing a Belgium GHIC application
Our really simple Belgium GHIC and Demark GHIC application portal is designed to make the application process quick and stress-free. Remember that every family member travelling on holiday to Belgium will need their own Belgium UK GHIC Card – however, to make life more straightforward, you can apply on behalf of your family members, for example, your partner and any children that you have who are under the age of 16.
Who is eligible to apply for a Belgium UK Global Health Insurance Card?
We’ve made it as simple as possible to submit a Belgium GHIC Application. Your entitlement to a Belgium GHIC Card is not purely based on nationality. You can also claim one if you are a citizen of the EU, or a national of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who has been living in the UK prior to 1 January 2021, or if you are a worker or student studying in Belgium. You can also apply for eligible family members or dependents.
I still have an EHIC, do I need a Belgium GHIC?
If you’ve been a fan of Belgian holidays in the past, it’s quite likely that you might have a travel wallet full of Euro banknotes, ready to go. You might even have an old EHIC card kicking about too. During the Brexit debate, there was a lot of discussion about whether existing EHIC cards would expire once we left the union. In fact, the Brexit deal granted an exception to this – allowing existing cards to run until the point they expire. Nevertheless, the Government has strongly advised all British travellers to apply for a Belgium UK Global Health Insurance Card as soon as possible, if they intend to visit the country.
What medical issues are not covered by a Belgium UK Global Health Insurance Card?
Routine maternity care is covered, although the Belgium UK Global Health Insurance Card does not entitle an expectant mother to travel abroad specifically for the purpose of giving birth abroad. Whilst healthcare in Belgium is excellent, the GHIC card is not intended for the purpose of travelling abroad specifically to seek medical services.